Utah attracts ski and snowboard families from around the world for its numerous outstanding ski resorts that are easily accessible from Salt Lake City (SLC). But there are many other fun things to do in Utah with kids year-round. In fact, SLC itself is a great destination as well as a launch pad to Utah’s many family-friendly attractions. Visiting state parks, national parks, museums and a wide assortment of other attractions are among things to do in Utah with kids on a family vacation.
1. Salt Lake City, Utah
Settled in 1847, Salt Lake City is Utah’s state’s capital and is a family-friendly destination. In the downtown area you’ll find Capitol Hill, Temple Square, art galleries, movie theaters and a farmers market. Plus, from SLC it’s about a 30- to 45-minute drive to Park City, ski resorts, Ogden, Provo and other places that have fun things to do in Utah with kids.
2. Temple Square
Temple Square encompasses five city blocks of historic sites, exhibits and activities. In addition, it’s home to the Family History Library, one of the largest genealogical libraries in the world. Temple Square also hosts concerts, rehearsals and recitals. Free guided tours of Temple Square are available in 40-plus languages.
3. Natural History Museum of Utah
Special and permanent exhibits showcase Utah’s earliest people, geology, gems and minerals, and the story of the Great Salt Lake. The museum’s 10 permanent exhibits feature interactive, kid-friendly elements on various historical topics.
4. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum
Explore more than 60,000-square-feet of interactive exhibits. For example, in the I Dig Dinos exhibit, kids can dig up fossils and learn what it’s like to be a paleontologist. Other exhibits feature a garden, story factory and sensory room.
5. Clark Planetarium
Located in Salt Lake City, Clark Planetarium features three floors of free, hands-on exhibits that explore the earth and universe. For example, learn how weather, volcanoes and earthquakes shape our planet. Then test your knowledge about the solar system. The planetarium is jam-packed with fascinating information that will appeal to the whole family.
6. Hogle Zoo
The 42-acre Hogle Zoo is home to more than 800 animals. Visit the zoo’s themed areas like the African Savanna, Primate Forest and North American animals. Plus, you can feed a giraffe and watch daily animal shows. There’s also a carousel, train ride and summertime splash zone.
Situated in eastern Utah, Moab is the gateway to two iconic national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. Surrounded by rivers, forests and Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. If you’re traveling with older kids, consider a jeep tour, mountain biking, rock climbing and river rafting!
8. Arches National Park
Arches National Park is known for its 2,000-plus red sandstone rock formation. Drop by the Arches National Park Visitor’s Center for maps and information before exploring the park. Whether you plan to hike or drive through the park, you’ll be able to see the famous arches. But keep in mind that hiking will bring you closer to the famous Delicate Arch. For a short and easy hike, consider the Double Arch trail.
9. Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is characterized by canyons, mesas and buttes cut by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The area is divided into four districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers. The most accessible and family-friendly is Island in the Sky. Pack the car with snacks and enjoy the scenic drive to dozens of viewpoint pullouts.
10. Mountain America Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point
Step back in time to prehistoric life over 65 million years ago at the Museum of Ancient Life. See 60 complete dinosaur skeletons and explore hands-on exhibits like the Quarry Dig and Erosion Table.
11. Ski and Snowboard in Utah
Of Utah’s 15 ski resorts, 10 are within an hour of Salt Lake City International Airport. Among the most popular is Park City, which has two world-class ski resorts: Deer Valley (for skiers only) and Park City Mountain Resort. If you’re seeking a village-style ski resort, check out Solitude and Sundance. No matter your family’s level of expertise or choice of snowsports, you’re sure to find a ski resort that pleases the whole family.
12. Park City
A former silver mining town, Park City’s Historic District will charm everyone in your family. Historic Main Street is packed with eclectic boutiques, galleries and restaurants. In addition, Park City has many year-round outdoor activities from mountain biking and hiking trails to summer concerts and festivals. For more family fun, take a fly fishing trip on the Provo River in nearby Heber.
13. Utah Olympic Park
Built for the 2002 Winter Olympics, the sports park contains historical information and many attractions. Highlights include zipping down tracks on an authentic bobsled or alpine slide and visiting the Olympic Museum.
14. Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is a must-see national park any time of year. Colorful rock formations and green juniper trees create an enchanting landscape. In fact, Bryce Canyon also has the biggest concentration of hoodoo rock formations on the planet. Explore the park on foot or on cross-country skis for a snowy adventure. Kids 12 and younger can learn more about the park in the Junior Ranger program. If you are exploring by foot, make sure to check out Queens Garden and Navajo Loop Trail, it is our absolute favorite.
SheBuysTravel Tip: While Bryce Canyon is spectacular year-round, June, September and October see fewer crowds.
15. Zion National Park
Located in Utah’s southwest corner, Zion is the state’s first national park. Stop by the Zion National Park Visitor Center to learn about the park’s history and shuttle system. Plan accordingly if you plan to hike Angel’s Landing and/or the Narrows in Zion Canyon – two of the park’s popular and challenging hikes. But don’t worry, you can enjoy the park’s beauty on easy to moderate hikes too. The Emerald Pools trailhead offers two family-friendly hiking options to reach the three shimmering pools.
16. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium
Located in Draper just minutes from Downtown Salt Lake City, the aquarium is home to 4,500 animals representing 550 species. Explore five habitats where you’ll see giant fish, otters, playful penguins and stingrays.
Situated north of Salt Lake City, Ogden is the gateway to three family-friendly ski resorts: Nordic Valley, Snowbasin Resort and Powder Mountain. But the former boomtown has an array of things to do year-round on a family vacation. Historic 25th Street is a three-block historic neighborhood with shops, art galleries, farmers markets and car shows.
SheBuysTravel Tip: The Hampton Inn & Suites by
18. Treehouse Children’s Museum
While in Ogden, visit the Treehouse Children’s Museum, which features interactive exhibits designed to encourage reading and creative play. At the centerpiece of the two-story museum is a giant handmade tree that branches out to themed galleries. While older kids are welcome to visit the museum, the exhibits are designed for ages 2 – 12.
19. Bear Lake State Park
Straddling Idaho and southern Utah, Bear Lake is situated in a state park with a marina and beaches. The lake’s blue water makes it an inviting place to swim, boat and fish.
20. Dinosaur National Monument
Spanning over 210,000 acres along the Colorado and Utah border, Dinosaur National Monument will thrill kids who go wild over dinosaurs. They’ll be able to see hundreds of amphibian and marine fossils embedded in the cliff face inside the Quarry Exhibit Hall. Outside, the 1.2-mile Fossil Discovery Trail leads to petroglyphs.